The management of XL Foods Inc., which has been in the news for causing the biggest beef recall in Canadian history, has not figured out the most important issue is how the company governs food safety. Neither XL foods or its parent company appear to have any independent directors, who are essential to ensuring internal management does not cut corners. No one likes to be controlled, least of which entrepreneurial employees. However, ask yourself if defective internal controls are worth the price, in terms of reputation and financial loss. It can indeed be a run on the bank if consumers don't have confidence, and it can get worse unless governance checks are put in place.
During a poor economy, it can be a challenge for a business to increase profitability as competition for the "cautious consumer" intensifies and there is increasing pressure on margins. But a recession offers the perfect opportunity to question the way things have always been done -- and drive out waste and inefficiency. One of Jim's favourite slogans is: "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste."
Bill Clinton at the DNC said what white- and blue-collar workers have known for 30 years: you need to invest in people to have an innovative and productive economy. My coach, used to say "you get corn, if you plant corn." Neither in government nor in business have we been planting corn. We quit planting it almost 30 years ago when we got rid of middle management in government and the private sector, and as the economy reveals, we are losing.